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Infant Car Seat Buying Guide

The complete infant car seat buying guide for new parents

Safety always comes first, but with a brand-new infant in your arms, it feels more important than ever! A car seat is a baby safety basic and one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your new adventure buddy. If you’re on the hunt for the right infant car seat, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll discuss several important infant car seat features — such as safety, size, installation, and more — so you can make the best choice. But first, let’s take a look at when you should buy your baby’s car seat. 

When to buy an infant car seat

Some expecting parents have the nursery ready and waiting weeks in advance, while others pull things together in the final days of the third trimester. You can certainly gather some items at the last moment, but an infant car seat is not one of them! You’ll want to have the car seat in hand well before your due date just in case your baby decides to make an early appearance. 

It’s also a good idea to have it installed in your car, ready and waiting for your baby. The last thing you or your partner want is to be installing a car seat when you go into labor! The same rules apply if you’re adopting a baby. Have the car seat ready to go before your baby’s expected due date or arrival date. That said, let’s move on to the features to look for when choosing your infant car seat. 

Important infant car seat features

1) Safety

What’s the purpose of a car seat? To provide a safe and secure way for your baby to ride in style. So, while there are other factors you’ll want to take into account, safety is first. First of all, we recommend buying the car seat new. While it takes a village to raise a child and hand-me-downs are great for other baby items, a brand-new car seat is the safest option. Technology changes quickly, and a new car seat allows you to choose one with the latest advances. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a seat that has been in a wreck or has worn-out parts. 

Second, check that the car seat you’re looking at is up to date when it comes to safety standards in your country. Car seats should be tested and certified to the most recent standards. Third, look for a label that shows the model number and the manufacture date of the car seat. These numbers allow you to find out if there’s a recall. Certified for top security on the road, the Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna is designed in collaboration with premium car seat brand Nuna. The materials have been carefully developed and meticulously tested to efficiently absorb force and protect your little co-pilot.

The Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna car seats offer a five-point harness that’s easy to buckle and unbuckle so you’re ready to roll in a snap.

Buckling baby in car seat

2) Size

When it comes to choosing a car seat, the right size goes hand in hand with safety. It should be approved for your baby’s weight — not too big or too small, but just right. You can find the weight and size recommendations in the car seat information. Keep in mind that if you have a preemie who can’t be in a semi-reclined position, you should speak with your pediatrician about how to safely travel with your baby. 

3) Installation

A car seat that’s oh-so-easy to install in your car is one less thing that makes you pull your hair out. You’ll thank yourself later. Check to see if your car has a LATCH system or if you’ll be installing the car seat with a seat belt. This information will help you as you shop. Also, ensure the base and car seat you choose fit well in your car and that the seat is easy to take in and out. The Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna car seat bases are easy to place in the car, and the installation can be done in a matter of seconds! They are also available to purchase separately if you need an extra for your second car or a friend or family member who often keeps your child. 

4) Travel system compatibility

Along the lines of simplicity and ease, choosing an infant car seat with travel system compatibility can open up a world of easy in-and-out possibilities. What exactly is a travel system? A car seat and stroller that go together like peanut butter and jelly. A travel system consists of a car seat that is made to fit into both the car seat base and the stroller frame. That means you can whisk your baby out of the car and into the stroller (and vice versa) without ever taking them out of the car seat. Talk about seamless transportation!

The Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna car seat is compatible with all of our current Bugaboo strollers, from the all-terrain Fox 5 to the Donkey 5 double stroller and every stroller in-between. Expert tip: Always check to see if adapters are needed to make a travel system work. If so, are they included? Hint: Adapters are always included with the Bugaboo Fox 5 and Dragonfly

Shop our travel systems here.

No matter which stroller you need for your family and lifestyle, the Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna car seat fits, providing seamless integration.

Mom holing car seat next to stroller

5) Portability

Since a click-in car seat goes in and out of the car and you’ll be toting it around, it’s also important that the car seat is portable and easy to carry. Look for one that’s light, and make sure the handle is comfortable. How much does a standard car seat weigh? We’ve designed the Turtle Air by Nuna to be a lightweight, secure, and comfortable car seat, weighing in at just over seven pounds. The ergonomic carry handle offers you top comfort, too.  

6) Comfort

A comfortable handle is important, but since your baby is the one cruising, it’s also important to look for a car seat that facilitates a comfy ride no matter where you go. Head support and soft fabric are two aspects of car seat comfort. Instead of padding the car seat with blankets, use padding that’s specifically designed for your car seat.

And, rather than putting a blanket or pillow behind your baby’s head, choose a car seat with adjustable head support so you can make the appropriate adjustments as your baby grows. We also recommend choosing an infant car seat with a washable merino wool insert to provide optimal climate control. It feels almost as snug for your newborn as being in your arms!

7) Canopy options

To get the most out of your car seat, check out the canopy and smart shade options that offer your baby protection from the elements while also allowing you to keep an eye on them at all times. The right cover turns the car seat into a cozy spot for your baby. The canopy on Bugaboo car seats, for example, is outfitted with a mesh peekaboo window, UPF 50+ protection and a smart shade, and (the best part!) magnetic clips so you can quietly transition your baby without disturbing them.

8) Maintenance

There’s no doubt that car seats get dirty in the blink of an eye. Between spit-up, spills, and all the rest, there’s no way around it. But that’s no problem when your car seat is easy to clean. Your future self will thank you for choosing an infant car seat that’s washable and wipeable. All of the fabrics on the Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna car seats are machine washable in cold water on the delicate cycle. Simply allow the fabric to drip dry after removing it from the washing machine and before putting it back on the car seat. 

If you have a Bugaboo travel system, click here for tips on cleaning your stroller. 

All of the fabrics on the Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna car seats are machine washable in cold water on the delicate cycle.

Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna

Adventure, here we come!

The right infant car seat allows you to keep your baby secure on the go, wherever life takes you! Opt for a car seat that’s the right size, offers simple installation, and is comfortable for both you and your child. And, for the most ease and comfort, go with a travel system so you can move your baby from the car to the stroller without skipping a beat. Turn to the Turtle Air by Nuna car seat to fit seamlessly with a Bugaboo stroller. 

The Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuns car seat is secure, sleek, and — just like you — ready for adventure!